Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sharpening the Saw

One of the things that I do to Sharpen My Saw is to participate in Toastmasters. It serves many purposes. My main goal is to develop my speaking skills so that I will be prepared to train for Ed when the time comes. It also helps me develop meeting planning and implementation skills as well as leadership skills. This year I have been fortunate to be elected President of the Club. The most important piece has been my ability to think on my feet. Something that is critical in my line of work.

Last night was the Humorous Speech Contest and the Table Topics Contest. Table Topics is an opportunity to give a 2 minute impromptu speech about what ever the person wants you to speak on. They escort the contestants out of the room and each one is brought back in to answer the same question. The one who most effectively answers it is the winner and goes on to the next level. Sounds easy, right. After all it is a Humorous Speech contest, how hard can the Table Topic be. That's what I thought. Imagine my surprise when Ash presented me with the following table topic "You come face to face with a Suicide Bomber, what do you do or say to him."

Don't ask me what I said, it's all a blur. I know I breathed a lot, like Ed taught us. Before the night was over, I was surprised to find that I had won that portion of the event. I am always looking for ways to keep sharp and stay on top of my game. Who know when I might have to answer that question again, hopefully never.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Farmer's Need Hunters

The results are in regarding hiring the right person. As you may know, there are farmers (generally people who service their customers) and hunters (people who bring in new accounts - sometimes called rainmakers). For me the ideal candidate is a hunter who knows how to farm (cultivate). Afterall what is a farm without rain, barren. I just saw some statistics that were eye opening based on companies that use assessments. See for yourself.

In a recent analysis of the last 5000 sales candidates assessed, the data showed that 24%, 1 out of every four candidates, could not, do not, and will not prospect for new business. How would you like to hire one of them? Oh, you already did?

The same data showed that 45%, nearly 1 out of every 2 candidates could not, do not and will not close. I'm certain that you've hired some of them. In reality, 92% of all candidates will have fewer than 23% of the attributes in the closer skill set and 36% of all candidates will have fewer than 53% of the attributes of the hunter skill set.

What does this mean?If you don't use a pre-employment assessment, that can identify the small percentage of candidates who will close and the small percentage of candidates who will hunt, your chances of hiring a winner are quite slim.


So when I look at sales people I look for someone who can hunt and also has the ability to farm. What does this do? Well they will find and close, and then they will service the heck out of them. After that they will reap the benefits of the seeds they have sown by way of referrals. Sounds good to me.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Results Are In

I didn't set my goals high enough. I am learning our new Sales Accountability Software by utilizing it myself. As part of the program, you set activity goals for your self. Except for a few I exceeded my expectations. That does not mean that I am that good, by no stretch of the imagination. What it means is that I need to reach higher, stretch. I also might need to better understand the goals that I am setting to see if I really am being realistic. To make my point here is my week.

Activity Goal Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Total Percent
Cold Phone Calls 15 17 0 5 0 0 0 22 146%
Follow Up Phone Calls 15 2 0 11 1 2 0 16 106%
Conversations with Decision Makers 5 7 0 3 0 1 0 11 220%
Appointments Set 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 3 150%
Referrals Asked For 3 0 1 0 0 2 0 3 100%
Networking Events 2 0 1 0 1 1 0 3 150%
Client Calls 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 50%
Client Notes Sent 3 0 0 2 1 0 0 3 100%
Prospects Disqualified/Closed Files 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 20%

When I really look at this I realize that when I was filling in Cold Calls some might have actually been warm calls. So I need to be careful that I am really understanding what my standards are so that when I fill it in that it is accurate so Ed and I can use this as a tool for me to grow.

This is way too cool.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sales Accountability - What's That???

Picture managing a sales force with targets they are supposed to reach and behaviors they are supposed to perform. At the end of the week they don't seem to be bringing in the results. So what's the problem? Now picture a sales person who is surpassing all their goals. Hmm. What's going on? Now you can know! And now there is a tool to help you manage the sales people who are not performing to their potential and learn from the ones who are exceeding your expectations.

Sales Accountability is a program that you can use online to manage your team. Each team member creates a profile with realistic goals and objectives. Then on a daily basis they quickly update it, online, no matter where they are. Then at a quick glance they can see how they are doing. No surprises at the end of the month or quarter.

When you have a team member who is struggling you can coach them on their behaviors and what they are doing and help them discover what they could be doing differently to get better results. Check out the web site and let us know if you want to try it out. We can set you with a demo to see this tool.

I have been using it and I can tell you it is eye opening. No more head in the sand and sad sob stories of why things aren't happening. Now I can focus my attention and work on what I need to in order to get the job done. Wow, for me it is awesome. I love what we do.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Dog Days of Summer

It is interesting what you hear in the summer. Everyone I talk to says how they are so slow and can't get anyone on the phone to do business with. So what do they do, they stop behaving, after all what's the point. Right????

One thing I have learned over the years is not to let the outside conditions such as weather affect my game plan. As you develop your cook book and then your list of activities, it should be the same Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall. Sure you might need to adjust a little, for example, I find that it is hard to get a live person on Friday's in the Summer so I call on Thursday.

Sage advice I received when I first started in business was to create a marketing plan and market whether you are busy or slow and you will never be slow. It was so true. When I waited till I had time to market then I had lots of time. But if I built it into my plan, I was always busy. Same with sales. Always be behaving no matter what the weather.